Tomorrow is Christmas day, which means today is the very last day of the Festive Fortnight ! I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone by! Of course, two weeks isn’t a very long time in the first place, but still. I started preparing all of the past thirteen posts in November, and now they’re all up. Time does fly when you’re having fun!
And I did have a lot of fun! I won’t lie, it was a bit stressful at times, but I’m really happy with all of my posts. The idea for the Festive Fortnight was born out of the fact that I wanted to post more Christmas recipes and bake more Christmas-themed stuff. Well, that definitely worked out great!
Considering the fact that I did have to think of thirteen posts for the past two weeks, my imagination has run dry right about now, which is why today will be a simple round up of everything that’s happened this Festive Fortnight. The links to all of the posts (except the first one, which was the announcement) are below the pictures!
Before we get to that, though, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!
Happy Christmas Eve Eve! It’s nearly Christmas and I cannot wait. Yesterday was my last day of work for the year and now I’ve got eleven days off! There will be tons of reading and relaxing and doing absolutely nothing and it’ll probably be over before I know it. Like this Festive Fortnight – tomorrow is the last post already. I feel as if we’ve only just started!
Today I’ve got a fun post for you that involves both books and baking (the perfect combination, of course). A few years ago I posted a book and dessert pairing guide, with a graphic made by Shari’s Berries. A few days ago, they got in touch with me again about a Christmas version of such a guide. It seemed like the perfect post to include in my Festive Fortnight!
Below, you’ll find twelve books about Christmas and a fitting dessert to go with them. I’ve scoured the web for recipes for these desserts – I hope there’s something to your liking! Perhaps this will provide you with some inspiration for Christmas dinner…
These Christmas Tree Meringues are the last recipe of the Festive Fortnight (cue “aaaaaw”s – there’ll still be two other posts, though) and they might be my favourite! I came across the concept of these meringues at a Dutch blog (Laura’s Bakery) and I immediately figured they’d be perfect for the Festive Fortnight. Ever since I got my free standing mixer, I’ve loved making meringues! They’re absolutely delicious treats and you can go all kinds of ways with the decoration.
The last time I made them I used food colouring gel to spruce them up for the first time, and I decided that I would use that same technique to paint these Christmas trees with some festive colours! I used red and green – the obvious Christmas colours – but you could also use all green if you want the meringues to resemble Christmas trees even more.
I based my meringue recipe on this recipe by CupcakeJemma and if you’re unsure how to make a good meringue, I’d definitely recommend watching her video. I tried to be as clear as I could in my instructions, but actually seeing what you’re supposed to be doing will beat any description I can give. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of the process, but Jemma describes everything super clearly.
These are so yummy, and they were gone before I knew it. My father in particular is a huge fan of meringues, but, then again, he’ll eat anything that has sugar as its main ingredient, it seems!
We’re eleven days into the Festive Fortnight, so it’s high time for a book tag! I went in search of a fun Christmas-themed one and Google brought me the Twelve Days of Christmas Book Tag via XingSings. I’ve been reminded once more of how bad I am at making choices; picking books for the answers to these questions was so hard. But I did, so let’s get into it straight away!
The Twelve Days of Christmas
ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE.
The partridge stood alone in the pear tree. What is your favourite stand alone?
Man, we’re jumping straight into the deep end, aren’t we? This question tore me up inside, but in the end I’m going for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. I might change my mind again tomorrow, but that’s okay. This is one of my favourite books ever! It’s got so much love and heart and it’s just wonderful. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve recommended it to.
Just looking at the pictures of these cookies makes me incredibly happy. They look so cute and festive! Plus, I know how they taste as well and let me tell ya; they are delicious. These cookies are a huge success all around.
This is the first time I made royal icing myself. Last year, when I made gingerbread cookies (which looked similar to these chocolate cookies) I bought ready made royal icing, because I couldn’t find a place to buy corn syrup. This time I had a little more time and did a little more research, and I found out you can just as easily use golden syrup, which I’ve got lying around in my cupboard anyway. The icing is super easy to make, and the mint really takes it up a notch.
The cookies themselves are wonderful, too. They’ve got a very rich chocolate-y taste and the texture is just right as well. And like the icing, they’re super easy to make! Just make sure you’ve got some time, because the dough will need to chill in the fridge for an hour. Apart from that, it’s a quick recipe with standard ingredients. Perfect for the Christmas holidays!
“I need you to be my person. I need to see you. And hear you. I need you to stay alive. And I need you to stop kissing other people just because they’re standing next to you when the ball drops.”
Two festive short stories
Midnights is the story of Noel and Mags, who meet at the same New Year’s Eve party every year and fall a little more in love each time…
Kindred Spirits is about Elena, who decides to queue to see the new Star Wars movie and meets Gabe, a fellow fan.
First published: 2017
These gingerbread cupcakes were a hit! I made them for a birthday party and everybody loved them. I have to say, I was amazed by how incredibly delicious they turned out. I’m not the biggest fan of cupcakes (I’m of the opinion that frosting is highly overrated) so I don’t make them that often, which made this recipe a bit of an experiment. But it was definitely a succesful one!
The molasses are the big winner in this recipe, I think. Of course, they’re quite integral to gingerbread cookies and thus to gingerbread cupcakes, but I’m in awe with just how much extra depth the molasses bring to the flavour. The ginger also definitely comes through, which I love, and it makes sure the cupcakes don’t taste too sweet.
Then in comes the frosting; it’s a cream cheese frosting and it’s incredibly soft and smooth. The dash of cinnamon adds that extra little something and makes these cupcakes fingerlicking good. I mean, I don’t want to blow my own trumpet too much, but I’m pretty darn proud of these!
Those tiny little cookies on top are a Dutch ‘delicacy’. They’re tiny speculaas cookies (similar to gingerbread) which are generally eaten on sandwiches (I know – but it’s delicious!). I actually wanted to use Christmas sprinkles, but couldn’t find them, so these were a makeshift solution. It looks pretty cute, though, I think!
Some of you might be wondering: “what does Harry Potter have to do with Christmas?” Well, let me explain! Not all that much, really. Yet, for some reason, the Harry Potter films have become a part of Christmas for a whole lot of people around the world.
Perhaps it’s the cosiness of the earlier films, or the Christmas celebrations within them. I don’t know. All I know is that I wanted to do a Harry Potter post during this Festive Fortnight, because I love Harry Potter and I’ll take any excuse to talk about it.
Some time last year, I made a post in which I ranked the Harry Potter books. It was horrible and difficult, but also kind of fun! So, I decided to do the same for the films. The ranking is different from my ranking of the books, but there are definitely similarities, mostly at the top and the bottom. I just want to say as a kind of disclaimer before we start that I love all of these films a lot and that this ranking might change the next time I see any one of them. Although the top two and the last one are pretty much fixed.
Also, I did my best to be vague, but there might be a few spoilers here and there. Just thought I’d mention that
Anyway, here’s my ranking of all eight of the Harry Potter films!
The second recipe of the Festive Fortnight! This is one I’m especially excited about. It’s marshmallows! I tried making marshmallows before over two years ago, and it was quite a failure. Back then I was unsure what I did wrong, but now I know I didn’t use the right type of gelatin (the stuff I used basically wasn’t gelatin at all). With that knowledge, I decided to try again.
And you know what? Making marshmallows really isn’t that hard! In fact, it’s pretty simple, as long as you have a sugar thermometer and you stick to the recipe. My recipe was based on this Dutch one. I used a little less gelatin, and I added the crushed candy canes on top for that festive touch. The candy cane also adds some extra texture and a nice mint-y flavour to the otherwise soft and sweet marshmallows.
I’m still dumbfounded by the whole process of making marshmallows, by the way. I didn’t take any pictures of the process itself, which I’m regretting now. But I watched with wonder how a mixture of water, golden syrup, sugar and gelatin (so, a transparent and slighly golden liquid) turned into white, sticky goo (or, you know, marshmallow fluff) and tripled in size during the process. Science, man! I love it.
I love how easy these were to make, and I think I’ll be trying out different versions in the future. You can go all kinds of ways with the flavour and look of these!
I’m sure most of us can list a couple of things we don’t like about winter, like the cold or how it gets dark so frickin’ early (if you sense some frustration here… you might be right), but isn’t it way more fun to talk about our favourite things about winter instead?
My favourite thing about winter is how cosy everything gets. Part of that has to do with Christmas (which is my other favourite thing about winter) and all the lights going up around town. But it also has to do with the cosiness of being at home in a warm jumper with a cup of tea and a blanket. And books, of course. I’ve been loving curling up with a book on the couch at night after work. There’s just something extra special about doing that when it’s cold and dark out.
That’s why today, on the third day of my Festive Fortnight, I’m sharing with you a list of five books that I think are perfect for curling up on the couch with. It’s a bit of a random list in terms of what’s on it, but I thought to myself “which books would I love to read around Christmas when it’s cold outside?” and these are the books I came up with.